"...to take you as my awfully wedded husband...."
I was a teenager when I said those words 28 years ago today. It was on a Friday, too. Five o'clock in the afternoon to be exact. We showed up at the JP's house rather unprepared. No wedding ring, no camera. We did have a best man (aged 77) but no maid of honour because we didn't know we needed one. By the time I stumbled over my vows we dared not look at one another for fear of dissolving into never ending laughter. Half an hour later we were sitting drinking wine with our best man in a restaurant (the maid of honour turned out to be the JP's daughter, the only other person available on such short notice. I've often wondered how confused she must have been to be called out of her bedroom to witness a wedding just before suppertime.)
This week at work a student asked me how we made it through the hard times, how we kept together this long. I looked at her and said, "Faith." She gave me the most puzzled look and when I tried to explain she looked even more puzzled. How does one explain that in order to get through the rough patches together we had to turn to a power greater than ourselves? That on our own steam we were a mess and without faith in a higher power we didn't have a hope in hell of beating the odds? And that that faith gave us the courage to look at the hard stuff and do the work while leaning mightily on grace and mercy and compassion. The phone rang while I was trying to explain my explanation so we never did finish our conversation. I think she was as relieved as I was for the interruption.
The other day I drove past the JP's house just so I could show it to my daughter-in-law. The little brick house on the corner with its blue shuttered windows looks the same as it did that Friday in 1982 when I got the words "awful" and "lawful" mixed up.